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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht head into the lion’s den against resurgent Toulouse outfit

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Connacht's Ultane Dillane, Denis Buckley and Robin Copeland are in the thick of the action against Nicholaas Janse Van Rensburg and Mikheil Nariashvili of Montpellier during Sunday's European Champions Cup tie at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

THESE are challenging times for Connacht. three big games, two against European rugby’s elite sides, Leinster thought them a lesson two weeks ago, Montpellier offered a chance at redemption which they took in stunning fashion and now another side in the category of Leinster, French champions Toulouse await.

This is another level for Connacht. They are visiting the Stade Ernest-Wallon on Saturday (kick off, 1pm Irish time) for the fourth time this decade, but this occasion is different than all the others. In 2012 when they lost bravely, in 2013 when they recorded one of the competition’s greatest ever upsets and even in 2016 when they lost by nine points after a strong effort, all of those games came during a period of transition for Toulouse.

Today, it’s a different tale. A stunning season last year saw them capture their first French Championship since 2012 losing just three games in 28 during the campaign. They reached the last four of the Champions Cup for good measure and this year they are looking to end a nine-year wait for more success in this competition. It would be a record breaking fifth tile, they feel it’s long overdue.

So into the lion’s den go Connacht. They are in good shape in the pool after the opening day win, safe in the knowledge that defeat of any kind on Saturday will not scupper their quarter final hopes with the back-to-back fixtures against Gloucester in just a few short week’s time, far more telling in terms of their ability to reach the last eight for the very first time.

Speaking of Gloucester, well, Toulouse went there last Friday night and won in impressive fashion ,overcoming the concession of two breakaway first half tries that gave the hosts a 17 point lead to end up winning by five, with 22 unanswered points in the second half. They managed 70% possession and territory in the game and the cherry and whites had to make three times as many tackles.

A worry for Connacht will be the Toulouse lineout which was perfect during the contest and managed to nab seven of Gloucester’s throw ins for good measure. That could be their target again at the weekend as they look to dominate at the set piece. That includes the scrum, where they are notably strong with Cyril Baillle and Charlie Faumuina internationally recognised as among the best in the world.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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